Obedient to no man, dependant only on weather and season, without a goal before them or a roof above them, owning nothing, open to every whim of fate the homeless wanderers lead their childlike, brave, shabby existence. They are the sons of Adam, who was driven out of paradise; the brothers of the animals, of innocence. Out of heavens hand they accept what is given them from moment to moment. Sun, rain, fog, snow, warmth, cold, comfort and hardship; time does not exist for them and neither does history, or ambition, or that bizarre idol called progress and evolution, in which house owners believe so desperately. A wayfarer may be delicate or crude, artful or awkward, brave or cowardly – he is always a child at heart, living in the first day of creation, before the beginning of the history of the world, his life is always guided by a few simple instincts and needs – He may be intelligent or stupid, he may be deeply aware of the fleeting, fragility of all living things, of how pettily and fearfully each living creature carries its bit of warm blood through the glaciers of cosmic space, or he may merely follow the commands of his poor stomach with childlike greed, he is always the opponent, the deadly enemy of the established proprietor, who hates him, despises him, or fears him, because he does not wish to be reminded that all existence is transitory that life is constantly wilting, that merciless icy death fills the cosmos all around.
Narcissus and Goldmund
(Settemio and Allen)
At times it’s hard, hard to communicate, to be with you, you are not with me, you are in your home, at your job. Together we laugh at how I have done nothing or how I have done so much, at how I am free. I write to tell you where I am and what I have done.
I am in Bilbao, Spain, as called here in Euskera, Bilbo. I’m in a room with blank walls in a flat in the old town, winding cobblestone streets, shops open and busy until two in the afternoon, when everything then closes and people relax until four or five. I’m living with Javi, Borja, and Amorigiah and Pott the cat. All elf like loving creatures with music in their fingers and laughter on their tongues.
After cooking at the hostel in San Francisco for a year and living in the dorm, I was curious at how many people I lived with in that time, in my room roughly 1470 people and in the building 36,750. All of who I cooked for three nights a week. My twin brother was set to get married in Santa Barbara, so I left the hostel and watched my brother get married. I watched him in visions as he stood and promised to be, to love forever, I saw him run across the field at twilight with a bottle of frozen water, his skinny legs propelling him to the other boys. I saw him as me with no future, with only this room, our room, with our toys, with the farthest thing away being our birthday and really only seeing our dreams being made then as we played. It’s in this way that the unimaginable becomes reality.
I flew to Portland where I met up with a friend. Together we drove a woman’s car from Portland to New Jersey in ten days. I never met the woman; she posted an ad online seeking someone to drive her car, saying she would pay for the gas. I stayed with friends along the way; I met up with Forest in Minnesota and saw him and his band play on a rainy night. We drove into Indiana and stayed with my cousin and talked to his mom about my mom. We camped by a river in West Virginia with cicadas and opossum and gas attendants saying,
“You be careful now, you hear?’
We met the woman whose car I drove and I asked her why she did that. We talked about how nice it was that in a world, where we seem to make connections without flesh being present, that we can still respect and trust each other, as we always should.
I took a Chinatown bus from Philadelphia to New York for ten bucks, got on the subway and made it to New York airport with my fly pole still in hand. I flew into Dublin, with the rain still following me. I took the bus from the airport to Drogheda and waited for the New Grange bus, all too familiar for me. The building was the same, new people, but a photo of me still on the mantel in the lodge. I was home. I fished with Dave, my skills exposed to him.
“Big Al, what are you doin?! You’re waving it around like whip man, it’s ten and two, ten and two!”
I got Megan’s address and made an adventure of finding her home in the suburbs of Dublin with sunflowers in hand and five hours gone by in the rain still, I knocked on her door. She smiled and sneezed, she had hay fever.
I flew into Toulouse got online to see where everyone was meeting and saw that I was a day early. I got onto couchsurfing.com and within an hour had a place to stay that night. A French girl and her mom took me in.
I watched the unfolding of a dream, a château surrounded by sunflowers and grape vines, delicious food and wine presented to all of us. I had made it my destination with the others, but my difference was this, was it no future beyond Auty France. I ended up leaving with Jami and Donovan, driving into the Pyrenees to sleep on a mountain, then to the French coast to surf a perfect wave and into Bilbao, where I met up with Javi who I first met in San Francisco when he was traveling from Spain. I am here now sharing a room with him, learning the local language, cooking for new friends, walking the winding streets to the shops, going to bars and eating pinchos, reading my book by the river and writing you.
P.S. The best mullets are in Spain!
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